Which Athletic Shoe is Right for You?

Published by Englin's Fine Footwear on 15th Sep 2017

Which Athletic Shoe is Right for You?

New Balance produces a diverse range of fine athletic footwear for activities of all types: hiking, running, lacrosse, golf, softball, soccer, and just about any other sport you can imagine. We love that they have a huge range of options, but know that you might be confused about which shoe is the best fit for your needs! After all, everyone prefers to exercise differently. You might prefer brisk walks to long runs or vice versa. You might be into weightlifting or fitness classes at your local gym. Maybe you just like to play pick-up games with your friends in the park. Whatever gets you up and moving, you know that you need the right footwear to protect yourself from injury, but knowing what the right footwear is for an activity can be a struggle. Today we're going over the differences between walking shoes, running shoes, and cross trainers, some of the most common and versatile athletic shoe options, so that you know just what pair you need to keep your feet safe and comfortable!

Walking Shoes

New Balance Men's 847v2 in White     New Balance Women's 847v2 in White with Frost

The New Balance Men's 847v2 in White and the New Balance Women's 847v2 in White with Frost are two great walking shoe options.

If hitting 10,000 steps a day is your exercise goal, a good pair of walking shoes might be just what you need! Walking shoes are designed with the mechanics of walking in mind. The heel of your foot strikes the ground first when walking, and then the motion rolls through the rest of your foot as it comes into contact with the ground. With this motion in mind, walking shoes are generally made with flexible soles where the flexibility is centered under the ball of your foot. The sole of a walking shoe also usually has a very small heel drop, which means there's very little difference in the height of the shoe at the heel and toe. A large heel drop in a walking shoe can change the motion of your foot during a walk, and that change can cause discomfort in your feet. Walking shoes with a small heel drop are meant to let your feet move more naturally. Because walking is a low-impact activity walking shoes require less cushioning than other athletic shoes. Less cushioning keeps the shoes light, a nice feature for ensuring comfort on long walks. For a brisk walk through your neighborhood a good pair of walking shoes is a great choice.

Both the New Balance Men's 847v2 and the New Balance Women's 847v2 are available for $124.95*.

Running Shoes

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080v7 in White with Energy Lime         New Balance 1540v2 in Silver with Mint Green

The New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080v2 in White with Energy Lime and the New Balance 1540v2 in Silver with Mint Green are good examples of different running shoe construction.

If your idea of the perfect form of exercise is pounding the pavement training for a 5K race, a 10K race, or even a marathon, you definitely want a pair of running shoes. Running shoes are made specifically for runners and can have different features to optimize the shoe for different running styles; however, there are some features that running shoes do tend to have in common. Running shoes may have a flared heel to provide stability through the motion of your run. Much like walking shoes they need to be light, but unlike walking shoes they also need to absorb the extreme forces that act on your feet during a run. To help absorb that shock they tend to have thick soles and thick cushioning. As running shoes are designed for the forward motion of running they have very little support for side-to-side movement, and they also tend to be flexible. Where the flexibility of a walking shoe tends to be set under the ball of your foot, the flexibility of a running shoe is usually centered under the arch of your foot to account for the way your foot strikes the ground while running. These shoes are also generally made with lots of breathable mesh fabrics to help keep your feet cool while on a run. Whether you're looking to beat your best time or finish first in the race you need a pair of running shoes to keep your feet comfortable.

The New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 1080v2 is $149.95, and the New Balance Women's 1540v2 is $159.95*.

Cross Trainers

New Balance Men's Minimus 40 Trainer in Black with WhiteNew Balance Women's Minimus 40 Trainer in Black with Thunder & Sunrise

The New Balance Men's Minimus 40 Trainer in Black with White and the New Balance Women's Minimus 40 Trainer in Black with Thunder & Sunrise

Cross trainers are meant for exactly what their name says: training across different types of exercises. These are shoes built for people whose preferred exercise is a little bit of everything. They're good for short runs on a treadmill, pickup basketball games, weightlifting, fitness classes, and just about any other standard type of exercise you could see yourself doing. Cross trainers tend to pull features from both running and walking shoes, featuring thicker soles and cushioning. Unlike walking and running shoes, however, cross trainers are also built to provide support during lateral movement, so your feet will be protected during the quick side-to-side steps of a dance workout or a set of side lunges. Cross trainers are something of a jack-of-all trades shoe; they have features that make them suitable for many types of exercise but they aren't optimized for any of them. If you like to switch up your exercise routine from one workout to the next and aren’t looking to get into distance running or power walking then a good pair of cross trainers might be just the shoe you're looking for!

The New Balance Men's Minimus 40 Trainer is $119.95. The New Balance Women's Minimus 40 Trainer is usually the same price, but it is currently available for $94.99*!

Should You Wear Your Athletic Shoes Everyday?

Walking shoes and cross trainers can be worn everyday. If you've been wearing one of these styles daily and haven't been experiencing problems then they are probably a safe style for you to continue wearing. Running shoes are trickier because they have technical aspects meant to accommodate for different running styles and forms. These technical features are important for keeping your feet safe during a run by correcting foot motion and creating stability, but they can be over-corrective during daily use and potentially cause problems. Of course, if you have experienced foot problems of any kind with any shoe or want personalized recommendations for your feet you should consult a doctor for their recommendation on what type of shoe you need for everyday use.

Just because you can wear athletic shoes everyday doesn't mean you should. In fact, the shoe you wear specifically to exercise in should not be the shoe you wear daily. The usual recommendation is that you replace your athletic shoes every 300-500 miles of walking or running or after about 6 months of athletic activity, and you might need to replace them sooner if you notice extreme wear or discomfort. Your wear and tear on the shoe counts whether you wore that shoe to the gym or to run errands. Wearing a worn-out shoe to exercise can lead to increased risk of injury, so protect yourself by designating a pair of athletic shoes specifically for working out.

Finding the perfect athletic shoe for your needs is much easier when you have lots of shoes to choose from, and New Balance certainly offers many great options. They have styles available with technical features to help offset instability, prevent your feet from rolling too far in or out when taking steps, and a whole host of other foot motion issues. Additionally, Englin's Fine Footwear carries New Balance's high-end lines, meaning that you get New Balance comfort with durability superior to what you'll find in a New Balance shoe bought from another retailer. If none of our New Balance options seem right for you, we have plenty of other athletic shoe options for you that offer comparable comfort and durability.

Of course, walking shoes, running shoes, and cross trainers aren't the only types of athletic shoes. Hikers or trail runners need boots and shoes meant to tackle rough terrain, baseball or soccer players need cleats, and plenty of other exercises also require their own specially designed shoes. These are, however, some of the most commonly available shoes for some of the most common forms of exercise, and it's important to know which is best suited to your needs before you decide which to purchase. If you know what you need and are ready to browse, visit us in store or online to find the perfect pair of athletic shoes for you!

*All prices valid as of the posting date (09/15/2017); prices subject to change